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Many privately-owned public spaces in NYC still violate rules, reveals comptroller report

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is calling on the Department of Buildings to review privately-owned public spaces (POPS) after his latest audit revealed that many of these developments still violated rules, and restricted entry to the public.

This is Stringer’s second audit for 2017. His first report, which was published in April 2017, found that out of the 333 POPS in the city, 182 were non-compliant. In his second audit, he took a sample of 32 POPS from the 182 non-compliant group and results showed that 32 are still breaking laws.

“New Yorkers are getting cheated out of public resources and the developers are getting benefits and giving back nothing in return,” he said.

The city comptroller’s latest report stated that it submitted the initial audit to the DOB, but the agency declined to implement POPS regulations or fine non-compliant building owners. THe DOB responded that they will only perform inspections when an individual complaint is made about a specific site.

“DOB’s disregard of the facts, its denial of documented evidence, and its ineffective monitoring procedures enable building owners to break their agreements,” Stringer said. “This is utterly preventable.”

“We will be conducting regular inspections of all POPS in the city,” the DOB responded, through a statement to Curbed New York on Nov. 22.

In the 32 sites surveyed, the report noted that some sites restricted public access using a fence, barricade or signs indicating “for private use only.” There were also some sites were restaurants occupied the POPS with outdoor seating.

Stringer is currently asking the DOB to prioritize the 182 non-compliant sites in their inspection, and that the agence conduct strict monitoring of violators.

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